Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Why will Sumit Bose become next finance secretary, and not R Gopalan?

WITH the appointment of disinvestment secretary Sumit Bose as the ODS in the department of expenditure under the finance ministry, the decks are cleared for this 1976 batch Madhya Pradesh cadre IAS to become India’s next finance secretary. As Bose will retire only in March, 2014, he will have a long-haul in the North Block’s power centre.
Bose will first become the expenditure secretary by the end of this month when the incumbent and Bose’s two batch senior officer of the same cadre Sushama Nath’s extension ends.
But how will then Sumit Bose become India’s finance secretary? Here is how the situation works in his favour.
According to conventions, the senior most officer among secretaries of all departments of the finance ministry is designated as finance secretary. The departments in finance ministry include the department of economic affairs, department of financial services, department of revenue, department of expenditure and department of disinvestment. And with revenue secretary and 1975 batch IAS Sunil Mitra retiring in the end of the next month, there will be no officer senior to Bose provided the government does not bring in a 1975 batch officer as revenue secretary. But that’s a rare possibility.
But how will then Bose become finance secretary and not his batch-mate and one of FM’s favourite officers R Gopalan, currently working as secretary in the department of economic affairs? In the merit-cum-seniority list of 1976 batch, Bose is marginally above Gopalan and hence Bose will be designated as the finance secretary.
Had commerce secretary and 1975 batch IAS Rahul Khullar become the DEA secretary, the situation would have been different. Khullar would have been the finance secretary by the simple measure of seniority.
The only impediment in Bose becoming finance secretary now is the induction of any of the three officers, S Sundareshan, Uday Kumar Varma and Anita Chaudhary, as revenue secretary. All these three officers are Bose’s batch-mates, but are senior to him in the merit-cum-seniority list. But that argument is only for theoretical purpose as none of those officers has a chance to become revenue secretary and thereby finance secretary.
Action and Appointments
a) Ms S Radha Chauhan, a 1988 batch UP cadre IAS has been appointed as joint secretary in the department of school education and literacy.
b) The Appointments Committee of the Cabinet has approved proposal for premature repatriation of Sada Kant, a 1983 batch UP cadre IAS presently joint secretary in the ministry of home affairs to his parent cadre of Uttar Pradesh.

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